Are Alexis Sanchez’s Failures Still Haunting Manchester United’s Newcomers?


Manchester United will face Arsenal this afternoon in what could prove to be a decisive clash in this season’s title race.

Both teams are in incredible shape and haven’t been in such good shape at this point in the season since they were the dominant forces in English football under Fergie and Wenger.

It is fitting that the date of this long-awaited match, January 22, marks the fifth anniversary of one of the most controversial transfer deals between the two sides in the recent past, an exchange deal, as a result of which Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alexis Sanchez exchanged places with each other.

Both players failed to light up Old Trafford, despite having demonstrated their abilities.

Mkhitaryan played an important role in United’s entry into the Europa League under the leadership of Jose Mourinho, scoring six goals in 11 games, including skillfully scoring Ajax in the final and ensuring the Red Devils a victory with a score of 2:0. The following season, the Armenian quickly fell out of favor with the Portuguese coach, which consolidated his departure.

Sanchez has never shown the same level of ability or commitment that he showed in an Arsenal shirt at United.

The Chilean, who signed a lucrative £350,000-a-week contract that made him the highest-paid player in the Premier League, is often considered one of the worst signings in the club’s illustrious history, despite occasional flashes of individual skill. like the two assists he made in the magnificent 3-2 win over Manchester City, or the winning goal in stoppage time in another thrilling 3-2 comeback against Newcastle United.

United have been underwhelmed by the transfer market since the last days of Sir Alex’s reign, as the Glazers did their best to keep profits rather than compete with the endless riches of Chelsea, run by oligarchs, or City, sponsored by the state.

The Red Devils often missed their targets: the likes of David Silva were snapped up by their noisy neighbors, and the talents of Eden Hazard found a new home at Stamford Bridge.

Both players will become the focus of attention of several teams that have won titles, while the great Scottish elder will have to settle for Zoran Tosic, Bebe and rude teenager Wilfried Zaha.

His successors fared no better. David Moyes lasted long enough to sign one striker, Juan Mata, who served the club well enough.

The Magician played 285 matches in all competitions for the Red Devils, scoring 51 goals, but the 2010 World Cup winner often played out of position, so he never achieved the same level of performance as during his career. the first couple of seasons at Chelsea.

Louis van Gaal’s tenure has been overshadowed by terrible acquisitions on the flanks such as Angel di Maria and Memphis Depay, a double act that spectacularly failed to ignite Old Trafford.

In just a year, Di Maria will be sold at a heavy loss to PSG. The Argentine winger is still actively disliked by United fans after going out of his way to annoy them by madly celebrating a goal for Parisians in a Champions League match, only to be humiliated by Ole Gunnar Sulscher’s magnificent Reds a couple of weeks later on their own turf. .

Memphis Depay was touted as the next big thing in Europe, thriving with PSV in Holland, but the Dutchman scored just 2 league goals in 33 appearances for the Reds.

He was subsequently dropped from Jose Mourinho’s main squad and sold to Lyon in January 2017, and United suffered another blow to investment.

The Portuguese would also sign the aforementioned duo of Sanchez and Mkhitaryan.

Former United favorite Ole Gunnar Sulscher replaced Jose, and the Norwegian tried to eliminate the weaknesses of the flank by signing Daniel James and Jaydon Sancho in the extreme positions.

James has been a minor player throughout his tenure at Theatre of Dreams, but his penchant for making changes has often made him an invaluable asset against top teams.

The Welshman was sold to Leeds with a significant profit, which made him one of the few players after Fergie who brought United a net profit in the transfer market.

Sulscher often had to look for transfers, signing teenage duo Facundo Pellistri and Amada Diallo when United famously missed out on Sancho in the 20/21 season.

The pair have considerable talent, are highly regarded and remain in the plans of current manager Erik ten Hag for the future, but it remains to be seen whether they will break the evil eye that has existed since the days of Giggs, Beckham and Ronaldo.

Meanwhile, Sancho did not impress, despite the fact that he clearly had the necessary skills to shine. The Englishman trained away from the main team last month and only recently joined his Reds teammates in Carrington.

The former Borussia Dortmund player has struggled to regain his dazzling form in Germany, where he was hailed as the talent of a generation, but the 22-year-old still has time on his side.

Anthony, the only player signed with Ten Hag, had a great start to his life at Old Trafford, scoring 3 goals in his first 3 matches for United, including goals against Arsenal and City, but the former Ajax player was noted by fans for his lack of exit and slowing down parties in recent weeks.

The Brazilian international, who was also sharply criticized by the press last year for his ostentatious game, is only a month older than Sancho, and he still has a lot to grow.

The diminutive pair of wingers are players who excel in possession—based teams, and as United continue to hold the ball better under the guidance of their new Dutch assistant, players of this kind should come to life.

Despite the obvious failures of United in the transfer market under the Glazers, especially in the wingers category, Anthony and Sancho are still too young to be completely written off, despite what the British media assure us.

Both of these duos have become major signings for the Red Devils, designed to revolutionize the game of the flanks at Old Trafford for a whole decade, and hopefully in time they will be able to revive their careers at United, which Henrikh and Alexis failed to do.

While today’s clash at the Emirates may have come too soon for Sancho’s revival, all eyes will be on Anthony and the one player who has undoubtedly reinvigorated the left wing again this season, Marcus Rashford, to see if they can bring back the glory days. and a brilliant game on the flanks, which is a hallmark of Manchester United football.


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